Canadian Tropes, Dept.

Interesting to see that what passes as sound educational policies in Canada are based on the same nonsense that US educational policies are based on. To wit and for example in this latest Globe and Mail article about Ontario’s math ed crisis, is this quote from Annie Kidder, executive director for the advocacy group People for Education who is welcoming a reform of all aspects of the math curriculum in Ontario:

“I think that this is a very important move, that we recognize the importance of what are sometimes called … global competencies to student learning in all areas. It’s important that we recognize that there’s more to life than the three Rs,” Ms. Kidder said. She added: “It’s obviously important that kids read, write and do math. But it’s also important that they know how to collaborate … and they’re able to be successful in a knowledge economy and in jobs that don’t exist as yet.”

I don’t understand the hang-up with “collaboration”. If math were taught properly there would be less of a need for students to collaborate since they would be better able to figure things out on their own. The assumption that the working world is now based on collaboration more than ever before is one of those characterizations that comes from people who don’t work in the real world on a day to day basis. Yes, people work on projects collaboratively but usually each person brings their own particular expertise to the table. There is a difference between experts and novices. The collaboration one sees with students is usually the riding on the backs of the students who can do the work–because perhaps they learned it via parents, tutors or learning centers where they were taught what wasn’t being taught at school.

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